Pop i Różności The best music site on the web there is where you can read about and listen to blues, jazz, classical music and much more. This is your ultimate music resource. Tons of albums can be found within. http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/pl/pop/204.html Wed, 15 Jul 2020 07:09:23 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management pl-pl Leonard Cohen - Live In Fredericton (2012) http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/pl/pop/204-leonardcohen/12344-leonard-cohen-live-in-fredericton-2012.html http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/pl/pop/204-leonardcohen/12344-leonard-cohen-live-in-fredericton-2012.html Leonard Cohen - Live In Fredericton (2012)

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01 – Dance Me To The End Of Love
02 – In My Secret Life
03 – Heart With No Companion
04 – Bird On The Wire
05 – Who By Fire

Leonard Cohen - Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards
Bob Metzger - Lead Guitar, Pedal Steel Guitar
Roscoe Beck - Electric Bass, Bass [Stand-Up Bass], Backing Vocals
Dino Soldo - Wind Instruments 
Javier Mas - Bandurria [Banduria], Laúd [Laud], Laúd [Archilaud], Guitar [12-String Guitar] 
Charley Webb - Backing Vocals, Guitar 
Hattie Webb - Backing Vocals. Harp
Sharon Robinson - Backing Vocals
Rafael Bernardo Gayol - Drums, Percussion

 

This is a fantastic release from one of the world's best and most renowned songwriters, and, seeing that it was manufactured in such a small quantity, it will become a coveted item in the years to come. The performance itself is wonderfully executed and Cohen is for the most part in top form vocally-emotional and in search of liberation from his own world of despair.

My only problem with this E.P. (apart from it ending too quickly!) is that the material, while excellent, was culled from a series of shows that had already been mined for what makes up "Song From The Road". Two songs, even, were featured on that album, and because of that I can't say that this release is groundbreaking or something completely new and fresh (unlike Cohen's newest studio album, "Old Ideas", which is both). I was lucky enough to procure a copy of this E.P. on Record Store Day, and I encourage any and all Leonard Cohen fans to go out and see if their local record store has a copy left! ---ultimate-guitar.com

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluelover) Leonard Cohen Tue, 12 Jun 2012 18:25:22 +0000
Leonard Cohen - Popular Problems (2014) http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/pl/pop/204-leonardcohen/20655-leonard-cohen-popular-problems-2014.html http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/pl/pop/204-leonardcohen/20655-leonard-cohen-popular-problems-2014.html Leonard Cohen - Popular Problems (2014)

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1. Slow (3:25)
2. Almost Like The Blues (3:28)
3. Samson In New Orleans (4:39)
4. A Street (3:33)
5. Did I Ever Love You (4:11)
6. My Oh My (3:37)
7. Nevermind (4:40)
8. Born In Chains (4:56)
9. You Got Me Singing (3:32)

Leonard Cohen 	- Composer, Vocals
Joe Ayoub - Bass
Alkexandru Bublitchi - Violin
Charlean Carmon - Vocals (Background)
Donna De Lory - Vocals (Background)
Dana Glover - Vocals (Background)
James Hurrah - Guitar
Patrick Leonard - Composer, Instrumentation, Keyboards
Brian Macleod - Drums

 

Leonard Cohen's Popular Problems is an uncharacteristically quick follow-up to 2012's Old Ideas. That record, cut in the aftermath of a multi-year tour, revitalized him as a recording artist. Producer Patrick Leonard (Madonna, Bryan Ferry) serves as co-writer on all but one tune on Popular Problems. While Cohen's sound has revolved around keyboards since 1988's I'm Your Man, Leonard gets that the real power in the songwriter's lyrics are best relayed through his own own simple melodies. Everything here -- keys, female backing chorus, acoustic instrumentation, etc. -- is in their service. As always, Cohen's songs -- delivered in his deepest earth rasp -- offer protagonists who are ambivalent spiritual seekers, lusty, commitment-phobic lovers, and jaded, untrusting/untrustworthy world citizens. He is them, they are him: strangers hiding in plain sight. Opener "Slow" is paced by a blues vamp from an electric piano and kick drum. "...You want to get there soon/I want to get there last..." is delivered in a streetwise croak. It's a fine career metaphor, but the hilarious double entendre is self evident, too: "...All your turns are tight/Let me catch my breath/I thought we had all night." "Almost Like the Blues" employs a 12-bar variant exoticized by hand percussion. Cohen juxtaposes visions of global horror with worry over bad reviews; he's culpable because of his vanity. Gospel provides illustration on some of the better songs -- there are no weak ones. It's used with razored effect on "Samson in New Orleans" to address the devastation -- physical, emotional, spiritual -- left by Hurricane Katrina. Cohen really attempts to sing "Did I Ever Love You." Though it comes out a measured growl, its impact is searing. It shifts from gospel to country jaunt only to circle back, underscoring the bitter, vulnerable truth in the lyric. He observes: "The lemon trees blossom/The almond trees wither," before asking: "Was I ever someone/Who could love you forever?"; he knows the answer. The keyboards and tablas in "Nevermind," a narrative of treachery and global hypocrisy, create skeletal, tense funk. They're appended by Donna De Lory's Arabic chant for peace and safety in contrast to the lyric's scathing accusations. Gospel returns on "Born in Chains," a gentle but gripping first-person account of spiritual seeking with references to Judaism, Christianity, and Cohen's adopted Zen: "...I've heard the soul unfolds/In the chambers of its longing...But all the Ladders of the Night have fallen/Only darkness now/To lift the longing up." On set closer "You Got Me Singing," Cohen, accompanied only by acoustic guitar and violin, lays out hope: "You got me singing even though the world is gone/You got me thinking I'd like to carry on." It's an open-ended, affirmative sendoff. Popular Problems reveals that at 80, Cohen not only has plenty left in the tank, but is at his most confident and committed. This is his finest recording since 1995's The Future. --- Thom Jurek, Rovi

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluelover) Leonard Cohen Sun, 13 Nov 2016 12:47:53 +0000
Leonard Cohen - Songs of Love and Hate (1971) http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/pl/pop/204-leonardcohen/15817-leonard-cohen-songs-of-love-and-hate-1971.html http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/pl/pop/204-leonardcohen/15817-leonard-cohen-songs-of-love-and-hate-1971.html Leonard Cohen ‎– Songs Of Love And Hate (1971)

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A1 	Avalanche 	4:59
A2 	Last Year's Man 	5:58
A3 	Dress Rehearsal Rag 	6:02
A4 	Diamonds In The Mine 	4:00
B1 	Love Calls You By Your Name 	5:37
B2 	Famous Blue Raincoat 	5:06
B3 	Sing Another Song, Boys 	6:09
B4 	Joan Of Arc 	6:22

Acoustic Guitar – Leonard Cohen
Acoustic Guitar, Bass, Banjo – Bubba Fowler
Acoustic Guitar, Bass, Fiddle – Charlie Daniels
Arranged By [Strings & Horns], Conductor [Strings & Horns] – Paul Buckmaster
Choir [Childrens Voices] – The Corona Academy, London
Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar – Ron Cornelius
Piano, Producer – Bob Johnston
Strings – Michael Sahl (tracks: A2, 3rd Verse)
Vocals – Leonard Cohen, Corlynn Hanney, Susan Mussmano

 

Songs of Love and Hate is one of Leonard Cohen's most emotionally intense albums -- which, given the nature of Cohen's body of work, is no small statement. While the title Songs of Love and Hate sums up the album's themes accurately enough, it's hardly as simple as that description might lead you to expect -- in these eight songs, "love" encompasses the physical ("Last Year's Man"), the emotional ("Famous Blue Raincoat"), and the spiritual ("Joan of Arc"), and the contempt in songs like "Dress Rehearsal Rag" and "Avalanche" is the sort of venom that can only come from someone who once cared very deeply. The sound of the album is clean and uncluttered, and for the most part the music stays out of the way of the lyrics, which dominate the songs. Thankfully, Cohen had grown noticeably as a singer since his first two albums, and if he hardly boasts a range to rival Roy Orbison here, he is able to bring out the subtleties of "Joan of Arc" and "Famous Blue Raincoat" in a way his previous work would not have led you to expect. And while Bob Johnston's production is spare, it's spare with a purpose, letting Cohen's voice and guitar tell their stories and using other musicians for intelligent, emotionally resonant punctuation (Paul Buckmaster's unobtrusive string arrangements and the use of a children's chorus are especially inspired). And Songs of Love and Hate captured Cohen in one of his finest hours as a songwriter, and the best selections (especially "Famous Blue Raincoat," "Joan of Arc," and "Love Calls You by Your Name") rank with the most satisfying work of his career. If Songs of Love and Hate isn't Cohen's best album, it comes close enough to be essential to anyone interested in his work. ---Mark Deming, Rovi

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluelover) Leonard Cohen Sat, 05 Apr 2014 16:08:02 +0000
Leonard Cohen - The Songs Of Leonard Cohen (1967) http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/pl/pop/204-leonardcohen/20683-leonard-cohen-the-songs-of-leonard-cohen-1967.html http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/pl/pop/204-leonardcohen/20683-leonard-cohen-the-songs-of-leonard-cohen-1967.html Leonard Cohen - The Songs Of Leonard Cohen (1967)

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A1 	Suzanne 	
A2 	Master Song 	
A3 	Winter Lady 	
A4 	The Stranger Song 	
A5 	Sisters Of Mercy 	
B1 	So Long, Marianne 	
B2 	Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye 	
B3 	Stories Of The Street 	
B4 	Teachers 	
B5 	One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong

Leonard Cohen - vocals, acoustic guitar
Jimmy Lovelace – drums ("So Long, Marianne")
Nancy Priddy – vocals ("Suzanne", "So Long, Marianne", "Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye")
Willy Ruff – bass ("So Long, Marianne", "Stories of the Street")
Chester Crill, Chris Darrow, Solomon Feldthouse, David Lindley – flute, mandolin, Jew's harp, violin, various Middle Eastern instruments

 

At a time when a growing number of pop songwriters were embracing a more explicitly poetic approach in their lyrics, the 1967 debut album from Leonard Cohen introduced a songwriter who, rather than being inspired by "serious" literature, took up music after establishing himself as a published author and poet. The ten songs on Songs of Leonard Cohen were certainly beautifully constructed, artful in a way few (if any) other lyricists would approach for some time, but what's most striking about these songs isn't Cohen's technique, superb as it is, so much as his portraits of a world dominated by love and lust, rage and need, compassion and betrayal. While the relationship between men and women was often the framework for Cohen's songs (he didn't earn the nickname "the master of erotic despair" for nothing), he didn't write about love; rather, Cohen used the never-ending thrust and parry between the sexes as a jumping off point for his obsessive investigation of humanity's occasional kindness and frequent atrocities (both emotional and physical). Cohen's world view would be heady stuff at nearly any time and place, but coming in a year when pop music was only just beginning to be taken seriously, Songs of Leonard Cohen was a truly audacious achievement, as bold a challenge to pop music conventions as the other great debut of the year, The Velvet Underground & Nico, and a nearly perfectly realized product of his creative imagination. Producer John Simon added a touch of polish to Cohen's songs with his arrangements (originally Cohen wanted no accompaniment other than his guitar), though the results don't detract from his dry but emotive vocals; instead, they complement his lyrics with a thoughtful beauty and give the songs even greater strength. And a number of Cohen's finest songs appeared here, including the luminous "Suzanne," the subtly venomous "Master Song" and "Sisters of Mercy," which would later be used to memorable effect in Robert Altman's film McCabe and Mrs. Miller. Many artists work their whole career to create a work as singular and accomplished as Songs of Leonard Cohen, and Cohen worked this alchemy the first time he entered a recording studio; few musicians have ever created a more remarkable or enduring debut. ---Mark Deming, Rovi

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluelover) Leonard Cohen Fri, 18 Nov 2016 13:07:43 +0000
Leonard Cohen ‎– I'm Your Man (1988) http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/pl/pop/204-leonardcohen/20699-leonard-cohen--im-your-man-1988.html http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/pl/pop/204-leonardcohen/20699-leonard-cohen--im-your-man-1988.html Leonard Cohen ‎– I'm Your Man (1988)

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1 	First We Take Manhattan 	5:59
2 	Ain't No Cure For Love 	4:49
3 	Everybody Knows   (Written-By – Sharon Robinson) 	5:33
4 	I'm Your Man 	4:25
5 	Take This Waltz 	5:57
6 	Jazz Police    (Written-By – Jeff Fisher)	3:51
7 	I Can't Forget 	4:29
8 	Tower Of Song 	5:37

Leonard Cohen - Keyboards, Piano, Vocals
Anjali - Vocals
Mayel Assouly - Vocals, Vocals (Background)
Richard Beaudet - Saxophone
John Bilezikjian - Oud
Tom Brechtlein - Drums
Lenny Castro - Percussion
Larry Cohen - Keyboards
Vinnie Colaiuta - Drums
Jeff Fisher - Keyboards
Raffi Hakopian 	- Violin
Evelyine Hebey 	- Vocals, Vocals (Background)
Jude Johnson - Vocals
Jude Johnstone - Vocals
Peter Kisilenko 	- Bass
Sneaky Pete Kleinow - Guitar (Steel), Pedal Steel
Michel Robidoux - Drum Fills, Drums, Keyboards
Bob Stanley - Guitar
Anjani Thomas - Vocals
Elisabeth Valletti - Vocals, Vocals (Background)
Jennifer Warnes - Vocal Ad-Libs, Vocals, Vocals (Background)

 

A stunningly sophisticated leap into modern musical textures, I'm Your Man re-establishes Leonard Cohen's mastery. Against a backdrop of keyboards and propulsive rhythms, Cohen surveys the global landscape with a precise, unflinching eye: the opening "First We Take Manhattan" is an ominous fantasy of commercial success bundled in crypto-fascist imagery, while the remarkable "Everybody Knows" is a cynical catalog of the land mines littering the surface of love in the age of AIDS. --Jason Ankeny, Rovi

 

I’m Your Man reinvented Leonard Cohen at age 53. It is the most fun you can have while being told that life is a terrible joke.

Leonard Cohen appeared on seven of his album covers before 1988, always looking cooler and wiser than his listeners: he was the saturnine poet, the seductive man of the world. On the cover of I’m Your Man he looks better than ever, with his sunglasses and impeccable pinstripe suit—except that he’s eating a banana, the slapstick fruit. James Dean would not have looked cool eating a banana. Gandhi would not have looked wise. Cohen’s publicist Sharon Weisz snapped the picture at the video shoot for Jennifer Warnes’ version of “First We Take Manhattan” and thought nothing of it, but Cohen thought it summed up everything the album was saying about himself and the human condition: Just when you think you’ve got it all worked out, life hands you a banana.

Cohen was 53 when he released the album that reinvented him musically, vocally, linguistically, temperamentally and philosophically. It quickly became his most successful record since his 1967 debut and many people’s favorite. In Sylvie Simmons’ Cohen biography, also called I’m Your Man, Black Francis says: “Everything that’s sexy about him was extra sexy, anything funny about him extra funny, anything heavy was extra heavy.” Triple-espresso Cohen. Six of these eight songs were career highlights that featured on “The Essential Leonard Cohen” and his 2008 comeback tour. Over the years, they have been consistently covered and quoted and folded into popular culture. Not a bad strike rate for an album that, according to Cohen, “broke down three or four times in the making of it.”

Cohen was on his knees when he made I’m Your Man. His 1984 album Various Positions had revitalized his songwriting with his embrace of cheap synthesizers and contained “Hallelujah,” destined to become a modern standard, but it had been rejected by Columbia Records in the U.S. He was running out of money. Songwriting, never easy, had become “hard labor”—he had been struggling with “Anthem” and “Waiting for the Miracle” for years and wouldn’t nail them until his 1992 album The Future. Above (or below) all, he was poleaxed by depression, unable at one stage to get out of bed or answer the phone. He considered retiring and withdrawing to a monastery but he didn’t feel he had the spiritual mettle. He felt that the personality he had sustained for so many years—as an artist, lover, friend—was disintegrating. “My own situation was so disagreeable that most forms of failure hardly touched me,” he said. “That allowed me to take a lot of chances.”

Cohen clawed back his self-respect by telling the truth. His account of writing “I Can’t Forget” reminds me of Hemingway’s solution to creative block: “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” Originally, the song was about the Jews’ exodus from Egypt but Cohen felt he lacked the religious conviction to sing it. “I couldn’t get the words out of my throat,” he said. So he sat down at the kitchen table, abandoned any pretense to wisdom and began to write one true verse, a twist on Kris Kristofferson’s “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down”: “I stumbled out of bed/I got ready for the struggle/I smoked a cigarette/And I tightened up my gut.”

The actress Rebecca De Mornay, who began dating Cohen after I’m Your Man, summarized his attitude at the time: “Let’s get down to the truth here. Let’s not kid ourselves.” The truth, as Cohen saw it, was bleak. He had reached the end of a period of spiritual inquiry. His investigations would resume during the ‘90s when he spent years studying with the Zen master Roshi on California’s Mount Baldy, but on I’m Your Man he had reached a conclusion about how the world worked, and it gives the album a wry fatalism. His capacity for action is circumscribed by forces beyond his control. He is chained to music (“Tower of Song”), or a woman (“I’m Your Man”) or the memory of a woman (“Ain’t No Cure for Love”) and there’s nothing he can do about it. Bob Dylan said that with Various Positions Cohen’s songs were becoming like prayers—“Hallelujah,” “If It Be Your Will”—but there are no prayers here, and nobody to answer them.

To the extent that I’m Your Man is political—with its allusions to racism, inequality and the Shoah—it is the opposite of protest, because protest is futile here. The bomb has already dropped. The flood has occurred. The plague has arrived. The language of politics or religion or romance has lost its power to console or inspire. All that Cohen can do is describe the blasted terrain without flinching and find a way to inhabit it with some modicum of dignity. “I got some sense that the thing has been destroyed and is lost and that this world doesn’t exist, and this is the shadow of something, this is the fallout, the residue, the dust of some catastrophe, and there’s nothing to grasp onto,” said Cohen, demonstrating his ability to deliver an answer in an interview that’s as finely turned as a poem. The album describes the aftermath—a state beyond pessimism or anxiety or hope. “A pessimist is somebody who is waiting for the rain,” he said. “Me, I’m already wet.”

I’m Your Man is the most fun you can have while being told that life is a terrible joke. Because Cohen is a published poet and novelist and a limited musician, his grasp of pop music is often underrated, but he was enough of an entertainer to realize that this lyrical pill would require a lot of sweetening in the studio. The album began to take shape when Jeff Fisher, a keyboardist whom he had met in Montreal, arranged “First We Take Manhattan.” Cohen felt that if these words were couched in “serious Leonard Cohen music,” then they would be intolerable for both him and the listener. The song needed cinematic scope (Fisher’s version reminded him of Ennio Morricone’s work with Sergio Leone) and a beat you could dance to. The synthesizer enabled him to write to rhythms he couldn’t play on the guitar but it also connected him to cities, modernity, the tempo of the street. Fisher’s version, which resembles a militarized Pet Shop Boys, convinced Cohen the album was possible.

Then there’s the voice, which had acquired a morbid gravitas ideally suited to delivering hard truths but was not yet a midnight croak. Cohen shows considerable range here, executing each syllable with deadly precision on “First We Take Manhattan”; as intimate as a late-night phone call on the title track; a more ravaged version of his younger self on “Take This Waltz”; jaded and urbane on “Tower of Song.” His backing singers Jennifer Warnes and Anjani Thomas serve as confidants, accomplices, angels and hecklers, encircling that voice like garlands on a statue. Finally, and most importantly, there are jokes. It may be the humor of the gulag or the cancer ward—the black comedy of low expectations—but no less funny for that. “When things get truly desperate,” said Cohen, “you start laughing.”

The only man of action on the record, the only optimist, is the deranged narrator of “First We Take Manhattan.” Cohen had become fascinated by extremist rhetoric, from the KKK to Hezbollah, because its “beautiful world of certainty of action” stood in exotic contrast to his own sense that the human condition is defeat and failure. (“Anthem,” which he attempted during the I’m Your Man sessions, would articulate the consolation embedded in his anti-utopian philosophy—“Forget your perfect offering/There is a crack in everything/That’s how the light gets in”—but not for another four years). The fanatic believes he knows exactly what needs to be done. The fanatic can always get out of bed. Obviously, Cohen didn’t endorse any of these ideologies, so he imagined a movement of one, leaving it unclear whether the narrator is an impotent fantasist or a genuine threat. The understanding of the mindset is chilling but, Cohen reasoned, “I’d rather do that with an appetite for extremism than blow up a bus full of schoolchildren.” Zack Snyder, in a rare instance of good taste and humor, deployed it at the end of Watchmen, where it speaks for the deranged utopianism of Ozymandias.

I’m Your Man, which Cohen produced himself, has a reputation as Cohen’s synthesizer album, but each lyric demands a different setting. There’s a country song, a Casio blues number, a waltz, a Quiet Storm ballad and whatever the hell “Jazz Police” thinks it is. A friend of mine calls any near-masterpiece flawed by one outright howler a case of “Jazz Police Syndrome” and it’s hard to disagree, even if you accept Cohen’s intention to make “something quite wild and irresponsible,” inspired by hip-hop and the theme of a Pynchonesque “superagency” that secretly controls the world. Frenzied abandon isn’t one of Cohen’s natural modes, especially when it’s expressed through the medium of slap bass and stumbling drum machines. The joke fails to land.

“Jazz Police” is the most extreme manifestation of Cohen’s dedication to the sound and the language of “the street.” He made the album in fragments, in Paris, Montreal and Los Angeles, a city that he felt was “really, truly an apocalyptic landscape.” I’m Your Man is his least spiritual, least poetic, least romantic album. It has no patience for beautiful abstractions. “Ain’t No Cure for Love” (its title inspired by L.A.’s AIDS crisis) and the title track take sentimental clichés—I’m addicted to love, I’ll do anything for love—to brutal extremes. Love is the monkey on his back and he’ll go to any lengths to appease it, even if it means erasing his identity. “I’m Your Man” fades out with Cohen still singing, as if he’s going to keep prostrating himself at the feet of the object of his desire until he gets an answer. There’s a very good chance she’s not listening.

Cohen leaves the street just once, diverting all of his poetic energies into “Take This Waltz,” his lush version of Lorca’s 1930 poem “Little Viennese Waltz” that first came out in 1986 on the 50th anniversary of the poet’s death. He said that translating his favorite poet took him 150 hours and a nervous breakdown, which may not be hyperbole because it must have been a mammoth task to honor Lorca’s sinister dreamscape while thoroughly Cohenizing the language. Lorca’s striking image of a forest of dried pigeons becomes “a tree where the doves go to die”; the melancholy hallway becomes “the hallways where love’s never been.” Lorca wrote it during the year he spent in New York, and Cohen’s song retains that dance between the old world and the new as well as the one between love and death.

If you had to boil I’m Your Man’s worldview down to just two songs, one would be “Everybody Knows,” a grim litany of human cruelty and injustice with a chorus like a Balkan wake. “It pushes things very, very far just to get a laugh,” he said. It’s been serially abused by posturing self-styled mavericks who miss the humor, from Christian Slater’s character in the 1990 teensploitation flick Pump Up the Volume to conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, but that’s not Cohen’s fault. He doesn’t valorize his cynicism or claim that it requires special insight. Everybody knows this stuff deep down, he’s saying. Let’s not kid ourselves. At a press conference in 2013, Cohen was asked by one earnest journalist what he thought about the state of the world. He paused and smiled and said: “Everybody knows.” Of course.

The other keystone is “Tower of Song,” which suggests Beckett’s famous line, “I can’t go on; I’ll go on,” reworked as a stand-up comedy routine. “I was born like this/I had no choice/I was born with the gift of a golden voice” is the most famous of a string of very good jokes. Cohen laughed when he wrote that line: “a laugh that comes with the release of truth.” Elsewhere, he holds out the possibility that, despite all we’ve been told, things might not be as bad as he imagined: “There’s a mighty judgement coming but I may be wrong/You see you hear these funny voices/In the Tower of Song.” Even the music is comical, with its rinky-dink keyboard rhythm and faltering one-finger keyboard solo. On his comeback tour it functioned as both light relief and the key to his whole career—he recited the lyric when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008. Here, its droll resignation steers the album away from futility at the last moment. This is Cohen climbing out of his depression by accepting his lot as a singer and writer—a lifelong resident in the tower he described as a combination of factory and bordello. Songwriting is how he makes himself useful. It’s not much, but perhaps it is enough.

Right up until his death on November 7, at the age of 82, Cohen was a great believer in useful songs. He once told a story about a conversation that helped him summon the conviction to finish the album when he was in a trough of despair. A friend told him that her father, who also suffered from chronic depression, had recently had a dream that made him feel better. It was a dream about Cohen. “I don’t have to worry because Leonard is picking up the stones,” he told her, smiling.

I’m Your Man gives the impression that Cohen took this responsibility very seriously. It’s not an uplifting album, but it’s a strangely reassuring one, because you feel that Cohen is working like a dog on the listener’s behalf to make the intolerable tolerable. Leonard is picking up the stones. ---Dorian Lynskey, pitchfork.com

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluelover) Leonard Cohen Mon, 21 Nov 2016 15:23:57 +0000
Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas (2012) http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/pl/pop/204-leonardcohen/11640-leonard-cohen-old-ideas-2012.html http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/pl/pop/204-leonardcohen/11640-leonard-cohen-old-ideas-2012.html Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas (2012)

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01 – Going Home
02 – Amen
03 – Show Me The Place
04 – Darkness
05 – Anyhow		play
06 – Crazy To Love You	play
07 – Come Healing
08 – Banjo
09 – Lullaby
10 – Different Sides

 

Leonard Cohen's Old Ideas is 'more of the stuff that has made Cohen indispensable for six decades: desire, regret, suffering, misanthropy, love, hope, and hamming it up'.

If long-term music fandom teaches you anything, it is that the value of your investments can go down as well as up. Your idols can develop feet of clay and ears of cloth. And then there's idols like Leonard Cohen. The Montreal poet found an acoustic guitar thrust into his hand in the mid-Sixties, the better to prostitute his art via the medium of pop. It is not wild hyperbole to say that he might be the finest master of his craft alive today, with a body of work on the human condition told in riddles and coated in tar. "Hallelujah" is one of his that has, itself, been prostituted widely. Even Cohen's latterday works (Ten New Songs, Dear Heather) maintain a high pleasure-to-piffle ratio.

In our hero, we also have an ordained Buddhist who would have sat out his twilight years up a mountain, smiling down upon our worldly foibles were it not for the fact that a former confidant made off with his pension pot . He is 77 – not the sort of age when a monk can easily give up non-violence. So the sage has swapped robes for natty suits, come down off the mountain, toured the world for two years, sired a grandchild, and made one more album for the road.

"I've got no future, I know my days are few," he rumbles cretaceously on "The Darkness", the album's pre-release taster. "I thought the past would last me, but the darkness got that too." The guitar parts and piano are just as exquisite as the lyrics. "Going Home" opens Old Ideas with a self-deprecating address setting the album's tone: dark, with twinkles; an implacable higher power just offstage.

Old Ideas is not all about death, betrayal and God, juicy as these are. As the title suggests, it is more of the stuff that has made Cohen indispensable for six decades: desire, regret, suffering, misanthropy, love, hope, and hamming it up (here's a line from "Banjo": "There's a broken banjo bobbing on a dark infested sea"). So sepulchral is Cohen's famous baritone on the devotional "Show Me The Place" that it's hard to suppress a giggle.

If you have to find fault, Cohen's pleas for reparation ("Come Healing") can never quite skewer you as comprehensively as his bleaker material. But anywhere you dip your net, you catch some depth. "Crazy To Love You" is vintage Cohen, prostrating himself (before some woman, or is it his song-craft?), referencing his own "Tower Of Song", throwing out glittering runes: "I'm tired of choosing desire/I've been saved by a blessed fatigue/The gates of commitment unwired/And nobody trying to leave." But for the weight of experience, the simple guitar accompaniment takes you right back to his first albums.

The musicianship throughout is uncluttered and swinging – a relief for those still rueing Cohen's lengthy synth phase. A bodyguard of angelic female voices (longtime collaborator Sharon Robinson, the Webb Sisters) wafts about, adding to songs like "Different Sides", and not distracting overmuch elsewhere.

No fan would ever have wished Cohen's misfortune upon him. But his loss has undoubtedly been our gain. This is no hasty hackwork, aimed at shoring up the bank balance, but a work of wry righteousness. Updates of "Hallelujah" are conspicuous by their absence. --- Kitty Empire, guardian.co.uk

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluelover) Leonard Cohen Fri, 10 Feb 2012 19:40:58 +0000
Leonard Cohen – The Best Of (1975) http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/pl/pop/204-leonardcohen/372-cohenbestof.html http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/pl/pop/204-leonardcohen/372-cohenbestof.html Leonard Cohen – The Best Of (1975)


1. Suzanne 
2. Sisters Of Mercy 
3. So Long, Marianne 
4. Bird On The Wire 
5. Lady Midnight 
6. Partisan, The 
7. Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye 
8. Famous Blue Raincoat 
9. Last Year's Man 
10. Chelsea Hotel No. 2 
11. Who By Fire 
12. Take This Longing

 

The Best of Leonard Cohen samples 12 of the many highlights from the singer's first four studio LPs. With a heavy emphasis on the debut Songs of Leonard Cohen and its follow-up Songs From a Room, the set includes such masterpieces as "Suzanne," "So Long, Marianne" and "Bird on the Wire," as well as later efforts including "Chelsea Hotel" and "Famous Blue Raincoat."--- Jason Ankeny

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluelover) Leonard Cohen Tue, 13 Oct 2009 17:18:31 +0000
Leonard Cohen – Toronto ’88 (2016) http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/pl/pop/204-leonardcohen/20661-leonard-cohen--toronto-88-2016.html http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/pl/pop/204-leonardcohen/20661-leonard-cohen--toronto-88-2016.html Leonard Cohen – Toronto ’88 (2016)

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1. Ain’t No Cure For Love
2. Bird On The Wire
3. I’m Your Man
4. Heart With No Companion
5. Take This Waltz
6. Tower Of Song
7. Joan Of Arc
8. Jazz Police
9. First We Take Manhattan
10. Coming Back To You
11. Suzanne
12. I Tried To Leave You
13. Whither Thou Goest
14. Ralph Benmergui Outro

 

By 1988 Leonard Cohen had undergone something of a renaissance in North America, propelled by the success of Jennifer Warnes’s 1987 Famous Blue Raincoat album. He supported his widely acclaimed synthesizer-heavy I’m Your Man album (1988) with a tour of Europe, the US, and his native Canada. This superb performance at Massey Hall in Toronto on November 9, 1988, was broadcast live on CBC Radio.  --- cohencentric.com

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluelover) Leonard Cohen Mon, 14 Nov 2016 14:03:08 +0000
Leonard Cohen – You Want It Darker (2016) http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/pl/pop/204-leonardcohen/20650-leonard-cohen--you-want-it-darker-2016.html http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/pl/pop/204-leonardcohen/20650-leonard-cohen--you-want-it-darker-2016.html Leonard Cohen – You Want It Darker (2016)

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1. “You Want It Darker”
2. “Treaty”
3. “On the Level”
4. “Leaving the Table”
5. “If I Didn’t Have Your Love”
6. “Traveling Light”
7. “It Seemed the Better Way”
8. “Steer Your Way”
9. “String Reprise/Treaty”

Two of the tracks feature a collaboration between the Cantor of Congregation Shaar Hashomayim
 and the Shaar Synagogue Choir conducted by Roi Azoulay.

 

Leonard Cohen's 14th studio album feels like a pristine, piously crafted last testament, the informed conclusion of a lifetime of inquiry.

Leonard Cohen has been bidding his farewell for decades, since before we ever met him. In 1966, he opened Beautiful Losers—his mystical, lysergic, gleefully obscene second novel—with the sunset plea, “Can I love you in my own way? I am an old scholar, better-looking now than when I was young. That’s what sitting on your ass does to your face.” He was just 32 then, rakish without ravaging, not yet celebrated for pairing wry, elegant sacrilege to folk melodies—a year before courting “Suzanne,” 18 from raising his “Hallelujah.” But even then, he was conscious and deferential to the light waning around him.

Which is a placidity his followers don’t always share; what other 82-year-old artist could possibly acknowledge his impending mortality and alarm his fans enough to recant? After The New Yorker’s remarkable recent profile quoted him as “ready to die”—depicting a mentally dexterous, physically frail ascetic “confined to barracks” in Los Angeles, solemnly tidying his affairs—Cohen took pains to console his fans, with familiar drollness: “I’ve always been into self-dramatization. I intend to live forever.” But even as he demurs, it’s hard not to play his 14th studio album, You Want It Darker, and hear a pristine, piously crafted last testament—a courtly act of finality that extends to the title. (Notice it’s not a question; it’s a prescription.)

Cohen has always kicked up his heels in the ambiguities of love and spirituality—casting prayers to the carnal, getting off on enlightenment. And so this new darkness he offers has dimensions instead of declaratives—it feels, in turn, to lyrically reference the encroaching blackness of death, the insularity of plumbing the soul ever-deeper, a fresh fatalism toward the spinning world. “I’m leaving the table/I’m out of the game/I don’t know the people/In your picture frame,” he laments, achingly, on “Leaving the Table,” over a warm and minimal waltz. Later, he intones, “I’m traveling light/It’s au revoir/My once so bright/My fallen star” (“Traveling Light”). It’s delivered with a wink, and no more dramatically brooding than his past work, but it is inescapably morbid; every track is vivid yet still enigmatic as it conjures loss and lamentation of some variety.

This darkness also apparent in the newly fathomless boom of his baritone, which already stripped the floorboards on recent albums Old Ideas and Popular Problems. Whereas the rough edges of his younger, nasal reediness suggested chic bohemian nonchalance, now his low caroling is edged in defiance, and Darker’s production is singularly complementary to it. When he imagines, not so subtly, the stars above him losing light (“If I Didn’t Have Your Love”), his intoning dips below cherubic organs, hinting at what these enamored lyrics soon reveal—that this bright devotional is of the spiritual sort, hewing closer to his past career as a monk than as an Olympic-level ladies’ man. (The most jarring thing about Darker is how utterly devoid of lust it is.) The gracious, spare production adds to the spell—contributed by his son, Adam Cohen, who almost wholly replaces his father’s proclivities for tinny keyboards and stately, gospel-esque female harmonies in favor of violins, warm acoustic guitar, and a cantor male choir. The elder Cohen’s familiar scaffolding of flamenco-influenced guitar remains, a bridge to history.

Cohen is not a songwriter who panders; he speaks above us, sometimes quite literally to higher forms, but also to universality instead of common denominator. Topicality, to him, remains somewhere around the Romantic era. But Cohen is also keen to experiment here. He embraces spry, rootsy bluegrass strings on “Steer Your Way,” which nods back in a few directions—to his college stint in a country band, to 1971’s Songs of Love and Hate (which featured Charlie Daniels on fiddle), to brighter moments on Popular Problems. The album’s final track, for the first time, is a string reprise; it bows out “String Reprise/Treaty,” Cohen’s difficult conversation with his higher power (“I wish there was a treaty we could sign/It’s over now, the water and the wine/We were broken then, but now we’re borderline”) with delicate, mournful dignity.

The album’s heart is exposed early, and plainly, in the title track. Its religious tones veer toward disdainful (“If you are the dealer/I’m out of the game/If you are the healer/I’m broken and lame”) but his oaky growl quickly becomes rapturous. Three times, as the choir drops out, he chants, “Hineni Hineni”—a Hebrew cry of devotion, the reply of a ready worshipper who hears their calling from God and is ready to act in service. Often, it’s the service in the afterlife. His is not a yelp of fervor, or excitable in any shade; the moment is his most quaking, sunken baritone delivery on the album—so deep, it would sound sinister without such compassion imbuing it. It’s the informed conclusion of a lifetime of inquiry. Hopefully, it is one holy dialogue of more still to come. But in this moment, he sounds satisfied; he has loved us in his own way, and he is ready for what awaits him next. But that doesn’t mean we are. --- Stacey Anderson, pitchfork.com

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluelover) Leonard Cohen Sat, 12 Nov 2016 14:07:57 +0000